Tiara M. Norris, 34, of the 800 block of Peachtree Court, has a total of five DUI charges, according to previous Northwest Herald reporting. In one case, Norris had a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal driving limit, authorities said at the time. She had faced between four and 15 years in prison.
Kane County Associate Judge David P. Kliment sentenced Norris to four years in prison Thursday. Norris will get credit for the 179 days she already has served, and the rest of her sentence could be cut in half for good behavior.
Norris has significantly changed since those charges, however, her attorney, Thomas Glasgow, said Friday.
On July 29, 2013, police responded to an Elgin neighborhood, where a homeowner reported Norris was driving on a front lawn.
Police took her to Presence Saint Joseph Hospital in Elgin, and her blood-alcohol level was more than 0.30 percent, Lt. Patrick Gengler of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office said at the time. The legal driving limit is 0.08 percent.
Less than a week earlier, Norris was charged in Gilberts with driving under the influence when authorities found her vehicle in a ditch. According to police reports, she was unable to stand up without relying on her vehicle for support. In the first arrest of the three, Norris was stopped in Gilberts for speeding when officers smelled alcohol on her, according to police reports.
Norris’s life was sent into a tailspin when she learned her then-husband, with whom she had just had a child, had been having a lengthy affair, Glasgow said. But after spending about six months in jail and undergoing both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, Norris turned her life around.
She remarried, earned several degrees, got a job, attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and helped others overcome their addictions, Glasgow said.
“She lives the lifestyle,” he said. “Since July 2013, she has lived a sober life.”
Kane County prosecutors argued Thursday that these changes were not enough, focusing on the sheer number of arrests in a period of three weeks.
Kliment sentenced Norris to four years in prison, a $5,000 fine and two years of parole for her third arrest; Norris is required to serve a minimum of two years. She also will get credit for her previous jail time and rehabilitation.
The other two cases still are pending, and Norris is next due in court Dec. 14.
Glasgow said he will continue to represent Norris through the upcoming litigation and will be arguing against the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office prosecuting the other charges.